-1

User demographics from Quantcast about StackOverflow revealed users were:

  • 78% male
  • 68% Caucasian
  • 79% No Kids (aged 0-17)

I would like to make this site to be usable for, used by, and useful to as many people as we can. Part of that involves, in my mind, considering the SOFU user base and without particular stereotyping or judgment, trying to expand beyond it. So, I'll relist the questions without appeal to any particular group:

  • Are there aspects of the site which might off-putting to users not familiar with SOFU's interface interface or moderation?

  • Is the scope of the site biased towards a particular type of cook, age of cook, or family arrangement of cook?

  • Is there anything we could do to make the site more attractive/accessible to a broader audience?

  • Should we reach out to specific websites beyond general cooking sites (chowhound, seriouseats) to try and bring in cooks who might not otherwise know about the stackexchange community?

As I've tried to make clear, I don't care to stereotype any group. I just want to build out from the underlying bias of the SOFU community so we can attract a broader range of cooks.

note 1: (To mods) I continually updated the previous question to address the concerns expressed in comments. The revised question was significantly re-phrased, as is this one. I can see the problem with targeting specific groups, so I've left this phrased as openly as I could without ignoring the raw data.

note 2 : related to this question (locked), which raised similar issues albeit less generally.

note 3: possibly of interest, though about targeting a specific demographic was this discussion on meta.stackoverflow

SOFU is the original 'trilogy' of sites related to programming, network management, and computers, from which this community's software evolved

  • 2
    @hobodave. If you're going to exercise discretion as a moderator, you might take into account the vote balance in a question, the consensus which evolves in the comments, the edits which make a question better suited to receiving useful answers, and the language you use to characterize a question ("tacky"), which is probably not necessary to suggest a different course of action. – Ocaasi Aug 20 '10 at 9:34
  • What does SOFU stand for? – JustRightMenus Aug 20 '10 at 15:57
  • Good question! As I rant about broadening the accessibility of the site. SOFU stands for stackoverflow, superuser, and serverfault, the original trilogy of sites based on this Q&A system. @justrightmenus – Ocaasi Aug 20 '10 at 16:07
  • That's the oddest acronym I've ever seen. It re-uses the S to go with each of the following letters? No wonder I couldn't figure that out. – JustRightMenus Aug 22 '10 at 4:58
  • @JustRightMenus: It's technically better represented as S(?:O|F|U), but I doubt that would be any better :) – hobodave Aug 23 '10 at 18:09
2

I maintain that it's way too early to be talking about issues like this. The fact is, we have a great community with lots of good, steady activity (questions and answers), but what appears to me to be only a slow trickle of new users.

Now that, in itself, is not necessarily a big problem - the site is still in beta, we don't even have our own name or theme yet, and the most important thing right now is that people are asking questions and getting their questions answered. But targeting specific demographic niches right now can only serve to hamper our ultimate goal of promoting the site, period.

If you have ideas for promoting the site, post them in the blogs and press discussion or the still-unanswered how do we promote our site? And if you've noticed a specific problem on the site that you believe makes it unfriendly toward a particular group, please start a new [discussion] or [feature-request] about it. What I don't think we need is a bunch of chatter and suspicion around our demographics.

Let's stick to specific issues, if there are any. If we hit 10,000 users or some number where we can actually gather useful statistics and there turns out to be some statistically significant deficiency, then we can start talking about if/why we're excluding certain groups.

And in the future, please don't simply duplicate posts that were closed or locked because you disagree with the decision. You can discuss the closure if you want, but simply repeating what you said the first time is not appropriate behaviour.

2

I think this is going to be a non-issue once we are up and going. It seems to me that the subjects addressed by the original trilogy lead to their particular mix of users. Cooking by it's nature is a much more democratic activity (in terms of demographic any way) which will lead to a much more balanced user base over time.

I know right now we have a lot of "nerd" cooks but that's mainly because our initial user base drew from area 51 and the original trilogy. I know I only happened to stumble across this place because of happenstance, as I was never an original trilogy user. As the site gets publicized to more and more mainstream food help sites, we will get a mix of all their users as well.

1

"Are there aspects of the site which might off-putting to users not familiar with SOFU's interface interface or moderation?"

One assumes that if there are any off-putting aspects to the site's interface, use of it and increased familiarity with those features will lessen that issue (as would a user-friendly, thorough, and specific FAQ, and possibly, a tutorial/tour for new users).

"Is the scope of the site biased towards a particular type of cook, age of cook, or family arrangement of cook?"

No, but it is biased toward cooks who have some idea of how to function online and are comfortable with a Q&A format when discussing food and cooking; I don't, however, find these biases to be problematic.

"Is there anything we could do to make the site more attractive/accessible to a broader audience?"

An audience of professional and amateur chefs is already as broad as it could possibly be because there are no other requirements for or restrictions to usership.

"Should we reach out to specific websites beyond general cooking sites (chowhound, seriouseats) to try and bring in cooks who might not otherwise know about the stackexchange community?"

I think that we should promote the site anywhere that professional and amateur chefs gather. When promoting the site to people, I think we should do so without regard to their distinguishing personal characteristics and with an emphasis on what the site is and how it functions. As we promote the site to people outside of the Stack Exchange community, its diversity will most likely increase.

0

We should be promoting the site, period. There are things currently in the works by the SO team to address the promotion of the more successful stack exchanges.

  • Yes, but if it doesn't work to address any of those imbalances, then what? The site will be better off if it serves all cooks not just sofu members who happen to cook. I don't know what specific gaps that entails filling, but I think it's worth discussing. Also, when you say "we", for whom are you speaking? – Ocaasi Aug 20 '10 at 9:59
  • We is everyone, I clarified that sentence. – hobodave Aug 20 '10 at 10:04
  • Missing something, what was clarified? I mean are you speaking as an answerer, or a moderator, or a representative of the SO team? – Ocaasi Aug 20 '10 at 10:10
  • I thought the we was confusing because of the sentence tense. We, as users. – hobodave Aug 20 '10 at 10:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .